Vailia From

Vailia From

Desparada Wines (Winemaker & Owner)

Vailia From grew up in Snowflake, a small community in Arizona. Her grandmother on her mother’s side is the source of Vailia’s unusual first name, and she also credits that grandmother with providing her with strength, confidence, and pluck. After leaving high school, she headed to San Diego and then to Scottsdale, supporting herself by waiting tables. While working at a high-end restaurant during this period, the sommelier there taught her about wine.

This led Vailia to working for a broker of fine German wines, first in sales and subsequently in a management position. All the while, she studied tirelessly for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) exams and was on track to earn the title of Master of Wine; she was all of 23 at the time. But her passion for travel put a temporary pause in her studies and led her first to Central America and then to Ontario, Canada, where she worked in a butcher shop.

Interest in wine was now part of her DNA, however, so she resumed WSET classes and began working for an importer who was bringing in wine from California. This ultimately acquainted Vailia with wines from the Paso Robles region and resulted in her moving there in 2007, where she lived in a trailer parked in the Pine Hawk vineyard. During her two years there, she learned all the facets of making wine, so that by 2009 she had the expertise and confidence to launch her own label, Desparada Wines; the name bespeaks “someone who marches to their own beat, thinks outside the box, like an outlier or outlaw,” as Vailia says in her own words. With a production of some 3000 cases, she offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay, among other varietals, as well as Rosé and various red blends. Her Sauvignon Blancs are perennial top scorers, according to Wine Spectator.

She lives in Paso Robles with her husband, Russell.